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Recap: Speights Peak to Pub Downhill

The first-ever Speights Peak to Pub DH went down (literally) on Saturday – here's how it all went!

After hectic winds led to us postponing the first annual Speights Peak to Pub DH for a week, we ended up with a perfect day on Saturday to run New Zealand's longest downhill bike race. Local riders faced off against competitors from all over the South Island, with some riders from as far off as the Czech Republic, for the race that started at the top of the mountain and finished at the iconic Cardrona Hotel at the valley floor (1800m descent!). 

The day started with a seeding run down Ridgerider. The results from seeding determined the drop order down the mountain and into the epic Peak to Pub trail, with the fastest time dropping first. 

Local boy Anton Cousins scored poll position through seeding and maintained it through the Peak to Pub to take home the first Open Men's title, with Scotland's Calum Wilson hot on his tail, and Pete Miller taking third.

Pete Miller making his way down Ridgerider. Photo: Lennon Bright

The Open Women's division was a battle of two EWS riders, with experience taking the win – Mops Newell (multi-winner of the Cardrona Mega Avalanche) pipped Brooke Thompson by almost a minute when all was said and done. Jenna Bews from Dipton rounded out the ladies' podium.

Mops sending it in the upper Peak to Pub trail. Photo: Lennon Bright

The Junior Boys' group was a full South Island affair, with a rowdy bunch from Oamaru the highlight of the event for our organising team – their banter and "interesting" style helped make the atmosphere of the event one of laughs and camaraderie instead of fierce competition. Local lads Taane Bayce-Horsley and Luke Hancock led the U18 boys from start to finish, and Oamaru's Blain Hamilton finished in third. The youngest male competitor (at just 10 years old), Jamie Pearson, finished with a respectable time that was quicker than some riders more than twice his age... the future's looking bright!

The Oamaru lads turned up in short shorts, t-shirts, open face helmets and no pads to race NZ's rowdiest DH race... here's Blaine Hamilton showing how it gave him the edge to claim third place. Photo: Lennon Bright

We had two girls in the Junior division – Wanaka rider Amy Benson absolutely smoked the race with a very respectable time of 16:34.61. Olivia Hein (9) was the youngest competitor of the entire day and finished off the race in style, with little brother Riley chasing her down the Peak to Pub in support. 

Local Amy Benson on her way to smoking the Junior Girls' division on Ridgerider. Photo: Lennon Bright

A massive thanks to the sponsors who provided prizes and refreshments for this event: Speight's, Endura, Ride Concepts, GoPro and Wilderness. The (above 18) riders all enjoyed some of the refreshing sponsor product at the Cardrona Hotel following the race, and spot prizes were given to the competitors who embodied the spirit of the event.

Brews and yarns after a long race... not much better than that! Photo: Lennon Bright

The Peak to Pub DH is going to become a regular fixture on our summer events schedule, so keep an eye out for it next year! The next event on the calendar is our social race series, Fast Fridays, which kicks off on January 31st and runs for six Fridays in a row. It's time to get your team together...

Riders: Check out a full gallery of images on Dropbox here! Please credit the photographer and tag us (@cardrona_bike) when you post on Instagram.

The podiums:

About the Author

Jen Houltham


Jen is Cardrona's resident word nerd. She's out & about on the mountain most days; a big fan of carving groomed runs, powder hunting & laps through Lil' Bucks!